11 Mar 2017

Rain floods northern regions, with more on its way

3:42 pm on 11 March 2017

Heavy rain has again hit parts of the North Island and Nelson overnight and this morning, cutting off parts of the Coromandel.

Northland, Auckland, Coromandel Peninsula, Bay of Plenty, and Northwest Nelson all had a severe weather warning in place.

MetService said the Coromandel bore the brunt, with about 130mm falling in 24 hours, most of that overnight.

The poor weather overnight also included a downpour in Auckland between 5pm and 6pm that was tied for the area's wettest since records began in 1965.

Kaitaia had a record rainfall, receieving 44.6mm between 3am and 4am according to NIWA, with hourly records beginning there in 1962. MetService said about 100mm fell there over 24 hours.

Meanwhile, the heaviest downpour was in Waitangi, with 69mm falling in just one hour last night.

About 77mm fell around the Hunua Ranges - not quite as much as that which fell earlier in the week and caused water problems.

Civil defence staff in Auckland asked people not to travel on the roads, unless they had to, because of the risk of surface flooding.

MetService forecaster Tuporo Marsters said overnight there were rain falls over a hundred millimetres around Auckland.

"Places like Mangere - I'm just going through the regions here - got up to 100mm, Huia falls got about 101[mm], 130mm in the Pinnacles."

He said the worst of the weather was now tracking over the central North Island, with rain developing around Wellington and the upper South Island, but it was the leftovers of the downpour.

Auckland Civil Defence operations manager Aaron Davis sids the intense weather wes not over yet and high winds were expected to hit the region tomorrow morning, bringing further disruption.

He said while there was a break in the bad weather this afternoon, residents should check their property, clear gutters and secure outdoor furniture and items.

MetService meteorologist Georgina Griffiths said a small low will cross Auckland about noon tomorrow, accompanied by potentially damaging winds and yet another burst of heavy rain.

Several roads are closed in the Auckland region because of the weather - mainly in Wellsford, Warkworth, Clevedon and Waiheke Island.

Tapapakanga, Hunua Ranges, Waitawa and parts of Waharau regional parks are also still closed due to flooding.

Further down the North Island - the Bay of Plenty Regional Council said rainfall has been concentrated west of Whakatane, and through to Rotorua.

It has put out a warning for the Kaituna River, where commercial rafting has now been shut down.

In the Waikato, homes have been flooded in Te Awamutu and Frankton in Hamilton.

The Regional Council is also keeping a close eye on rivers in the area, but said at this stage there is no major cause for worry.

Man rescued from flooded car

The Fire Service responded to a call about 7am from a man who had water up to his car steering wheel on Alfriston-Ardmore Road in the suburb of Papakura.

Firefighters got the driver out uninjured, as the water rose up to the top of the car's doors.

The road is now closed.

The Fire Service said it was responding to reports of flooded homes, with about 30 across Auckland.

Nine of those were in the suburb of Mount Roskill and five were on the North Shore.

Fire crews at a flooded basement in Bayview were also met by a swarm of wasps in the kitchen.

Roads closed in Coromandel

About 200 people attending a music festival near Waihi were evacuated because of flooding.

More roads in the Coromandel are impassible this morning after the region was again battered by heavy rain.

State Highway 25 closed in both directions north of Whangamata between Harry Watt Drive and Port Road.

State Highway 26 between Paeroa and Kopu had closed because of slips and flooding, as was State Highway 25A between Kopu and Hikuai, but both later reopened.

That meant Thames and Whitianga were cut off from the south, and Pauanui was once again blocked with Hikuai Settlement Road impassable.

Motorists were also being told to take care on the Coast road north of Thames due to a number of small slips.

Evacuations, power cuts, roads out in Far North

The Far North Civil Defence said about 1200 people were without power, though that was expected to be restored shortly.

Co-ordinator Bill Hutchinson said two households were evacuated as water went through their property after a heavy burst of rain around 3am.

Mr Hutchinson said there was minor surface flooding as drains struggled to cope, but the rain had subsided.

The State Highway 15 Twin Bridges were blocked in both directions, with detours in place.

State Highway 1 between Church Road and Clough Road in Kaitaia was closed due to a large slip.

Northland State Highway manager Brett Gliddon said crews were out across the region checking highways and clearing slips and debris.

He said motorists should allow extra time and avoid travelling if they can.

He said crews would be assessing a number of slips after sunrise - including reports of a large slip west of the Kaitaia with cars stuck behind it.

Vector said about 45 homes were without power in Kaipara Flats and Whangateau.

Auckland - Power cuts, and firefighters kept busy

Residents in Clevedon were advised by police to remain at home as flooding was affecting roads in the area, closing the Alfriston-Ardmore Road, Twilight Road and Tourist Road.

More than 1100 Auckland homes were without power, with about 780 affected in Titirangi and about 300 in Grey Lynn.

Another 600 had been affected in Grey Lynn earlier this morning.

By mid-afternoon, there were still some small power outagesdotted around Auckland city.

Vector said 82 houses were without power in Titirangi and smaller outages affected up to 30 homes are in Whangateau, Kaipara, Waiheke Island, Kawakawa Bay, and Avondale.

A house on Hill Road on Waiheke Island was damaged by a slip, the Fire Service said, but the occupants were not hurt.

Meanwhile Auckland Cup Day races at Ellerslie were postponed until Thursday evening.

Auckland Mayor Phil Goff was touring problem areas with Civil Defence this morning, and said there had been 17 new reports of flooding this morning.

"During the week the major problem was localised in the Papakura, Clevedon, Kawakawa Bay area. Today, last night, I think [it's spread] right across the city."

There were also a small number of houses affected by power cuts in Herne Bay and Northcote.

In Kawakawa Bay, 16 residents were still without power after it was cut several days ago, with heavy rain making the area inaccessible.

Northern fire service shift manager Megan Ruru said the service fielded almost 150 emergency calls between 6pm and 5.30am overnight, and attended 104 of them.

Ms Ruru said most were to do with flooding on roads, which were passed on to local councils to deal with.

Fire crews were kept busy diverting water away from homes and unblocking drains, and in several cases helping flooded home owners move furniture.

Ms Ruru said flooding callouts moved from the eastern suburbs like Howick and Beachlands, to south Auckland around Otara, and Manurewa and into the Coromandel.

Water supply muddied

Heavy rain in the Hunua Ranges was also causing problems for Auckland's water supply.

Aucklanders have been asked to reduce their daily water usage by 20 litres, after water going into the city's largest treatment plant at Ardmore was muddied by silt and sediment due to the downpour.

Watercare said that while the supply is safe to drink for now, if enough isn't conserved, a Boil Water notice may need to be introduced.

Mr Goff said the water system was coping despite the latest downpour.

He said the council will be asking Watercare to report on the water shortage.

"We expect to be able to turn our tap on, and for there to be clean and safe water and if for any reason, the safety and the quality of that water is compromised, then we have to consider what might need to be done to prevent that happening again."

Mr Goff said he was monitoring the situation.

"It'll be something that we'll be asking Watercare to report to council on," he said.

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